San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Jailhouse Rock

VIDEO: Costa Rica prison inmates showcase artistic skills at 3-day festival

At first it looked like any other concert: Four men danced in front of microphones, backed up by diverse musicians. They sang and flashed smiles. The audience cheered and rocked to the rhythm. But the men onstage were no ordinary performers: They are all incarcerated in Costa Rican prisons.

For the past five years, a series of workshops has enabled prisoners to learn a variety of skills, including creative arts. A three-day festival at the Antigua Aduana in San José gave these men a chance to showcase their work, from painting and crafts to music and theater. The Tico Times spent a Thursday afternoon at the festival, where inmates played pop songs, performed plays – and one inmate even got married.

Here is a brief sample of the show.

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